|Publication number||US5312150 A|
|Application number||US 08/069,538|
|Publication date||May 17, 1994|
|Filing date||Jun 1, 1993|
|Priority date||Jun 1, 1993|
|Also published as||CA2124308A1, CA2124308C|
|Publication number||069538, 08069538, US 5312150 A, US 5312150A, US-A-5312150, US5312150 A, US5312150A|
|Original Assignee||Quam Leverne|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (24), Referenced by (39), Classifications (8), Legal Events (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to tailgates for vehicle beds. In particular, the present invention is a pickup truck tailgate with an integral stair.
The use of a step mounted on a pickup truck tailgate to assist people entering and exiting the truck bed is generally known. One such tailgate step is disclosed in the Sleger U.S. Pat. No. 2,991,118. This step is in the form of a V-shaped piece of sheet metal bolted to the tailgate of the vehicle. It is somewhat bulky, and will occupy space and possibly interfere with cargo carried within the truck bed.
The Dawes U.S. Pat. No. 4,444,429 discloses a recreational unit for vehicle beds. The tailgate of the unit includes a step. However, the step extends rearwardly from the vehicle when the tailgate is raised, and is therefore poorly suited for pickup trucks.
The Criley U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,487 discloses a foldable step which is mounted to the tailgate of a pickup truck. This step is relatively complicated in construction.
It is evident that there is a need for an improved tailgate step. The step which should occupy relatively little space within the truck bed. To be commercially viable it must also be rugged and efficient to manufacture.
The present invention is a rugged tailgate with a stair that occupies little, if any, more space within the vehicle bed than conventional tailgates. The tailgate is also capable of being efficiently manufactured. In one embodiment the tailgate includes a wall for enclosing the bed of the vehicle. The wall is mounted to the bed of the vehicle for pivotal motion between open and closed positions by a mount. A latch is used to secure the tailgate to the vehicle in the closed position. A stair including at least two steps extends between opposite sides of the wall.
In a preferred embodiment the stair is an integral unit formed as bends in the wall. When the tailgate is in the open position the stair includes an upper step above a bumper and below the bed of the vehicle, and a lower step below an upper edge of the vehicle bumper and behind the vehicle bumper. Flexible cables support the tailgate in the open position with the steps oriented horizontally.
FIG. 1 is an illustration of the back of a pickup truck including a tailgate with stair in accordance with the present invention, with the tailgate shown in the open position.
FIG. 2 is an illustration of the pickup truck and tailgate shown in FIG. 1, with the tailgate in the closed position.
FIG. 3 is a detailed side view of one side of the lower edge of the tailgate, illustrating the pivot mount.
FIG. 4 is a detailed view of the latch shown in FIG. 2.
A tailgate 10 with stair 12 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated on a pickup truck 14 in FIGS. 1 and 2. Tailgate 10 is pivotally mounted to the back of truck bed 16 which includes floor 18 and side walls 20 and 22. When in the closed position shown in FIG. 2, tailgate 10 functions in a conventional manner to enclose the back of truck bed 16. When in the open position shown in FIG. 1, stair 12 can be used to conveniently enter and exit truck bed 16.
Tailgate 10 includes a sheet metal wall 26 which forms both the inner surface 28 and outer surface 30 of the tailgate. Stair 12 is formed in wall 26 and is fabricated by bending the sheet metal which forms the wall. Stair 12 is therefore integral with wall 26.
In the embodiment shown, stair 12 includes two steps 32 and 34, each having a riser section R and a step section S extending between the opposite sides of tailgate 10. Riser sections R of steps 32 and 34 form right angles with the adjacent step sections S in the illustrated embodiment. Side walls 36 and 38 are welded to the opposite sides of stair 12 and are sized to extend upwardly from step sections S of the stair when tailgate 10 is in the open position shown in FIG. 1. Strips of friction enhancing material 39 can be applied to step sections S of steps 32 and 34 to help ensure proper footing by persons using stair 12.
When tailgate 10 is open, riser section R of upper step 32 extends downwardly from a position immediately behind truck bed floor 18. Step section S of upper step 32 extends rearwardly from riser section R of the upper step, to a position beyond the rearward end of truck bumper 40. Riser section R of lower step 34 extends downwardly from step section S of upper step 32 to a position below the upper edge of bumper 40. Step section S of lower step 34 extend rearwardly from riser section R of the lower step. This configuration positions upper step 32 above bumper 40 and below truck bed 18, and lower step 34 behind the bumper and between the upper edge of the bumper and the ground.
As shown in FIG. 3, a metal tube 42 is welded to the free end of riser section R of upper step 32. Tube 42 thereby forms the lower edge of tailgate 10. The free end of riser section R of upper step 32 is bent to fit around metal tube 42 at the location of the weld. Tailgate 10 is configured to be mounted to truck bed 14 in a conventional manner so it can be sold as an aftermarket unit for replacement of the original vehicle tailgate. Accordingly, plastic bushings 43 are secured within the opposite ends of tube 42 (only one is shown in FIG. 3), and include bores 44 sized to receive pivot pins (not shown) extending from the truck bed side walls 20 and 22 adjacent floor 18. A slot 46 extends through the sides of bushing 43 and tube 42 into communication with the bore 44 on one side of tailgate 10, to facilitate the mounting of the tailgate on pickup truck 14 in a conventional manner.
A metal tube 48 is welded to the free end of step section S of lower step 34, and forms the upper edge of tailgate 10. The free end of step section S of the lower step 34 is bent to fit around a portion of tube 48 at the location of the weld. Inserts 50 are secured within the opposite ends of tube 48. Tailgate 10 is configured in such a manner that tube 48 is at the same height as the upper edges of truck bed walls 20 and 22 when tailgate 10 is closed.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, latch pins 52 are mounted within slide housings 54 on each side wall 36 and 38 of tailgate 10. The latch pins 52 extend through apertures in side walls 36 and 38, and are biased outwardly from the side walls by springs (not visible) within housings 54. Tailgate 10 is latched in its closed position (FIG. 2) by pins 52 which extend into apertures or recesses conventionally found in truck bed side walls 20 and 22. Chains 56 are simultaneously pulled to remove pins 52 from the apertures against the bias force of the springs when it is desired to open tailgate 10. Tapered edges on the ends of pins 52 facing truck bed 18 engage truck bed side walls 20 and 22 and urge the pins inwardly when tailgate 10 is forced into its closed position. Chains 56 therefore need not be pulled while closing tailgate 10. Flexible cables 58 extending between truck bed sidewalls 20 and 22 and lugs 60 on the sidewalls 36 and 38 of tailgate 10 support the tailgate in its open position. Cables 58 are sized so step sections S of stair 12 are at a level orientation when tailgate 10 is open.
Tailgates with stairs in accordance with the present invention have considerable advantages over those of the prior art. The stair occupies little, if any, more space than conventional tailgates. It therefore does not reduce the amount of cargo space available in the truck bed. Since it has no moving or foldable components, the stair will be relatively maintenance free. The stair also adds strength to the wall of the tailgate. Furthermore, the tailgate can be efficiently fabricated.
Although the present invention had been described with reference to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US1639879 *||Apr 1, 1926||Aug 23, 1927||Buffington Leonard C||Combined end gate and ramp|
|US2721345 *||Nov 5, 1952||Oct 25, 1955||Aken Gerald D||Boat stairs|
|US2991118 *||May 1, 1959||Jul 4, 1961||Louis Sleger||Tail gate step|
|US3176334 *||Aug 28, 1961||Apr 6, 1965||Kenneth P Lovdahl||Collapsible ramp and stair units|
|US3392990 *||Dec 21, 1965||Jul 16, 1968||Gordon E. Wolf||Retractable camper body door step|
|US3539033 *||Aug 12, 1968||Nov 10, 1970||Hendon Construction Co||Retractable ladder and closure for an above ground swimming pool|
|US3610658 *||Aug 22, 1969||Oct 5, 1971||Sartori Osvaldo F||Stairway and wheel carrier for truck campers|
|US3895838 *||Sep 4, 1973||Jul 22, 1975||Hamada Ben||Tailgate mount|
|US3900118 *||May 20, 1974||Aug 19, 1975||Kellogg James R||Loading tailgate for trucks|
|US4021071 *||May 16, 1975||May 3, 1977||Norman Thomas W||Self-storing step structure for vehicular mounting|
|US4125284 *||Feb 28, 1977||Nov 14, 1978||Outboard Marine Corporation||Vehicle with convertible step and foot rest|
|US4161997 *||Mar 2, 1977||Jul 24, 1979||Norman Thomas W||Self-storing step structure for vehicular mounting|
|US4216725 *||Nov 13, 1978||Aug 12, 1980||Pullman Incorporated||Combination door and emergency stairway exit|
|US4275664 *||Sep 26, 1979||Jun 30, 1981||Vapor Corporation||Step-platform operation|
|US4441754 *||Feb 17, 1982||Apr 10, 1984||Thyssen Industrie Aktiengesellschaft||Rear door for armored vehicles|
|US4444429 *||Mar 25, 1982||Apr 24, 1984||Industrial Financial Group||Recreational unit for vehicle beds|
|US4527941 *||Sep 6, 1983||Jul 9, 1985||Vrp Partners, Ltd.||Expandable support structure usable as loading ramp|
|US4569533 *||Aug 8, 1984||Feb 11, 1986||Coachmen Industries, Inc.||Van step|
|US4615275 *||Nov 19, 1984||Oct 7, 1986||Kawasaki Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Emergency exit apparatus|
|US4757876 *||Feb 24, 1987||Jul 19, 1988||Peacock William D||Foldable tail gate step assembly|
|US4846487 *||Apr 6, 1987||Jul 11, 1989||Criley Ronald L||Tailgate step for pickup trucks|
|US4848821 *||Jun 20, 1988||Jul 18, 1989||Llewellyn Anthony S||Tailgate ladder|
|US4864673 *||Jul 12, 1988||Sep 12, 1989||David Adaway||Folding ramp|
|US5133584 *||May 6, 1991||Jul 28, 1992||Mccleary Dennis M||Folding gate ramp for pickup trucks|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US5617930 *||Apr 6, 1995||Apr 8, 1997||Elia; Francis||Ladder assembly for a tailgate of a truck|
|US5975610 *||Aug 5, 1998||Nov 2, 1999||Tracy; Mark Alan||Seating apparatus for a tailgate|
|US6267429||Oct 27, 2000||Jul 31, 2001||Ford Global Technologies, Inc.||Multi-position vehicle tailgate assembly|
|US6460915||Oct 11, 2000||Oct 8, 2002||Ford Global Technologies, Inc.||Integrated bed side step assembly for vehicles|
|US6471002||Dec 4, 2000||Oct 29, 2002||The Eastern Company||Folding foot step with anti-skid surface|
|US6810979 *||Oct 11, 2002||Nov 2, 2004||Volvo Articulated Haulers Ab||Propulsion engine housing|
|US6857680 *||Jul 22, 2003||Feb 22, 2005||Daimlerchrysler Corporation||Integrated step for a vehicle cargo area|
|US6964444 *||May 24, 2004||Nov 15, 2005||William M. Chumley||Apparatus and method for accessing and extending a truck bed|
|US6966597 *||Dec 19, 2003||Nov 22, 2005||Tegtmeier Paul H||Tailgate assembly with integral steps|
|US7055838||May 19, 2003||Jun 6, 2006||Lambie Ken C||Folding tailgate mounted step assembly|
|US7073837||Dec 9, 2004||Jul 11, 2006||Madlinger David L||Multi-purpose tailgate for a vehicle|
|US7232173 *||Oct 4, 2005||Jun 19, 2007||Magna International Inc.||Step tailgate and mounting hardware|
|US7240947 *||May 20, 2005||Jul 10, 2007||John Kuznarik||Compact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder|
|US7401833 *||Apr 3, 2006||Jul 22, 2008||Nissan Technical Center North America, Inc.||Cargo bed step|
|US7516997||Nov 19, 2007||Apr 14, 2009||John Kuznarik||Compact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder|
|US7658266||Jul 25, 2005||Feb 9, 2010||Norfolk Southern Corporation||Truck bed staircase device|
|US7735894||May 7, 2007||Jun 15, 2010||Honda Motor Company, Ltd.||Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same|
|US7883306 *||Sep 18, 2008||Feb 8, 2011||Cessna Aircraft Company||Attachment bolt and tensioned support system using same|
|US7909381||May 3, 2010||Mar 22, 2011||Honda Motor Company, Ltd.||Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same|
|US8511734 *||Jun 30, 2006||Aug 20, 2013||Chrysler Group Llc||Deployable tailgate ramp|
|US9340932 *||Mar 7, 2014||May 17, 2016||Hamm Ag||Soil compactor with storage space|
|US9352639||Oct 17, 2014||May 31, 2016||Halcore Group, Inc.||Service vehicle door system|
|US20030051931 *||Oct 11, 2002||Mar 20, 2003||Volvo Articulated Haulers Ab||Propulsion engine housing|
|US20040113450 *||Jul 22, 2003||Jun 17, 2004||Fielding Russell C.||Integrated step for a vehicle cargo area|
|US20040183326 *||Dec 19, 2003||Sep 23, 2004||Tegtmeier Paul H.||Tailgate assembly with integral steps|
|US20040232649 *||May 19, 2003||Nov 25, 2004||Lambie Ken C.||Folding tailgate mounted step assembly|
|US20050006921 *||May 24, 2004||Jan 13, 2005||Chumley William M.||Apparatus and method for accessing and extending a truck bed|
|US20060125270 *||Dec 9, 2004||Jun 15, 2006||Madlinger David L||Multi-purpose tailgate for a vehicle|
|US20060261622 *||May 20, 2005||Nov 23, 2006||John Kuznarik||Compact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder|
|US20060261623 *||May 18, 2006||Nov 23, 2006||John Kuznarik||Compact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder|
|US20070075560 *||Oct 4, 2005||Apr 5, 2007||Magna International Inc.||Step tailgate and mounting hardware|
|US20070228761 *||Apr 3, 2006||Oct 4, 2007||Dryja Richard J||Cargo bed step|
|US20080042464 *||Jun 30, 2006||Feb 21, 2008||Hutchins Jr F Peter||Deployable Tailgate Ramp|
|US20080136208 *||Nov 19, 2007||Jun 12, 2008||John Kuznarik||Compact truck tailgate and general purpose utility ladder|
|US20080277958 *||May 7, 2007||Nov 13, 2008||King Darin D||Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same|
|US20100064473 *||Sep 18, 2008||Mar 18, 2010||Cessna Aircraft Company||Attachment Bolt And Tensioned Support System Using Same|
|US20100207415 *||May 3, 2010||Aug 19, 2010||King Darin D||Tailgate assemblies and vehicles including same|
|US20140110193 *||Oct 24, 2012||Apr 24, 2014||Deere & Company||Folding step assembly|
|US20140301785 *||Mar 7, 2014||Oct 9, 2014||Hamm Ag||Soil compactor|
|U.S. Classification||296/62, 296/57.1|
|International Classification||B62D33/027, B60R3/02|
|Cooperative Classification||B60R3/02, B62D33/0273|
|European Classification||B62D33/027A, B60R3/02|
|May 31, 1994||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SORENSON, LEIF T., WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUAM, LEVERNE M.;REEL/FRAME:007000/0804
Effective date: 19940516
|Aug 16, 1994||CC||Certificate of correction|
|May 5, 1997||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: STEPGATE, INC., SOUTH DAKOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:QUAM, LEVERNE M.;REEL/FRAME:008489/0876
Effective date: 19970225
Owner name: STEPGATE, INC., SOUTH DAKOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SORENSON, LEIF T.;REEL/FRAME:008519/0852
Effective date: 19970226
|May 18, 1998||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|May 18, 1998||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
|Oct 31, 2001||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Nov 9, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12